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Bluebird Nest Boxes Available

Male Mountain Bluebird – Photos by Scott Rashid

While Grant Spencer and I were placing the owl nest boxes a few weeks ago, many of you asked for bluebird boxes. We have built a number of nest boxes for blue birds that are available for placement.

In the Estes Valley, there has been at times all three bluebird species nesting. The three species are; the mountain, western and Eastern Bluebirds. The most common species, the Mountain Bluebirds prefer open country; the Western Bluebirds prefer areas with Ponderosa Pine, junipers and smaller openings. The least common, Eastern Bluebirds, when present prefer habitat similar to the Mountain Bluebirds.

All three species eat large numbers of insects, showing a great preference for grasshoppers. The Mountain bluebird feeds on a variety of insects including mealworms, beetles, wasps, caterpillars, crickets and fruits such as currants, grapes, raisins, etc. The feeding habits of the Western, and Eastern Bluebird are similar and in some areas identical to the Mountain Bluebirds depending on what prey is available.

When placing your bluebird nest boxes, remember that Mountain Bluebirds like areas that are very open, Western Bluebirds areas with Ponderosa Pine and smaller openings in the woods. If you place a box near a bush, it may become occupied by House Wrens, if the box is near a pond or stream you may get Tree Swallows. Keep in mind that Violet-green Swallows like similar habitat as do the Mountain Bluebirds. And Mountain Chickadees like habitat similar to Western Bluebirds. Don’t be surprised when some of your boxes are occupied by the swallows, wrens or chickadees.

After each nesting, clean out the nest boxes. This way the boxes can be reused that same year by other species. I have had bluebirds and Violet-green Swallow use the same nest in the same year. The bluebirds nested in a box, and after their young had fledged, the swallows moved in and nested.

Male House Wrens will move within their territory and construct partial nests in several nest boxes. The male wren will call to attract a female. He will then take the female to all of the partial nests that he has constructed. She will pick the one she likes and the pair will finish the nest together. However, if these partial wren nests are in a bluebird nest box nothing will use that box until the sticks are removed.

Also, if you have the land to place more than one bluebird box, you will increase your odds of having bluebirds nesting. If you have several boxes, you may get a Mountain Bluebird pair in one, a Tree Swallow in one, a Violet-green Swallow in one, and a Mountain Chickadee in another for example.

We are accepting donations for the boxes, and if you would like a Bluebird nest box placed on your property, feel free to contact me at 577-1794. Thank You, Scott Rashid Director of CARRI

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